Black-backed Woodpecker ©️2020

While my home state of Oregon’s forests burn, and I mourn the loss of lives and homes and forests and what seems like the last shred of normalcy in this incredibly eff’d up year, I can’t help but think about Black-backed Woodpeckers.

Black-backed Woodpeckers arrive in burned forests before the fires are even out. Some biologists think they can actually smell smoke. No matter how they find them, these enterprising birds are the first to colonize the newly burned forests. In the coming years, they’ll make their homes there and by the time they leave, just a few years later, there will be new seedlings and wildflowers and all sorts of birds and animals thriving in the recovering burns.

So the Black-backed Woodpecker is my symbol of hope. Hope for recovery. Hope for restoration. Hope for Oregon. /// Black-backed Woodpecker. 2020. Graphite on paper.

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